A process-oriented WBS defines a project in terms of steps, work phases, or functions. This type of WBS is focused on the steps that need to be taken within individual disciplines to complete a project and typically phrases individual elements in verb form. The key purpose of a work breakdown structure is to define the main deliverable in terms of the small components that form it. If the deliverable is not a product, then it must provide a specific and measurable outcome. For example, if you’re creating a WBS for a professional service, define the products or outcomes from that service.

definition of work breakdown structure

In both industry and academia, activities need to be planned while considering resources and external constraints. For example, critical deadlines are often fixed and then used to determine time frames for performing intermediate tasks. In industry, there may be a deadline set by senior management, such as a new product line to be launched by a specific date. Ideally, an industry team would be allowed to determine the staff needed to meet the launch date after careful consideration of all required project tasks and realistic task completion times. Your academic design team will need to determine the tasks, completion times, and resources required to complete the project. If the required project completion date is deemed unrealistic, then your team would be responsible for recommending changes in project scope and resources needed to shorten the project schedule.

How can a project manager get started with a WBS?‎

A WBS provides a hierarchical view of your project’s scope, translating overall strategies and objectives into specific goals, workflows, project phases, and action plans. The project management or accounting software used on major projects usually identifies categories of costs in terms of a chart of accounts. Although the WBS is a key input to these project management processes and deliverables, the WBS cannot, in and of itself, act as a substitute for or represent any of these on its own. So far, we have checked out all the key aspects of the work breakdown structure. Try right now to create your own work breakdown structure diagram with the ease-of-use Edraw Max without professional drawing skills. Quickly edit the built-in template, change the default layout with the preset auto-create tools, distribute team resources, share on Edraw team cloud and export to different formats.

It contains the project description, a list of free issue materials, a detailed list of work scope, and a fabrication, construction, and delivery schedule. If desired, allow project teams to use low-tech tools like a whiteboard, note cards, or sticky notes to identify major deliverables, subdeliverables, and specific work packages. As you manage similar projects, the work breakdown structure gets easier and can become the basis for improved delivery management. For unique projects where you and the team have no previous experience, the work breakdown structure can aid the team to define exactly what deliverables and tasks are needed for the final product. You’ll use work breakdown structures to identify the project tasks that make up the critical path of your project.

Organizational breakdown structure

Management was in denial and refused to believe the results of the model. No corrective or contingency action was taken and the model continued to predict an overrun of about 2weeks. Internally focused projects can produce deliverables as inputs to other project steps, other individuals, or other organizations within the company sponsoring the project.

Dashboards can give you a view of the landscape across several metrics. These dependent tasks can create a bottleneck later in the project’s execution phase, unless you identify them early. A typical project work breakdown structure is made up of several key components. We’ll use our WBS example above to identify each of the main WBS elements.

WBS Elements

Immediately beneath that is the next WBS level, which are the main project phases required to complete the project. Most WBS charts have 3 levels, but you can add more depending on the complexity of your projects. In other words, a work breakdown structure serves as your map through complicated projects. Your project scope may include several phases or smaller sub-projects—and even those sub-projects can be broken down into tasks, deliverables, and work packages! Your WBS can help you manage those items, and gain clarity into the details needed to accomplish every aspect of your project scope.

definition of work breakdown structure

When creating a project plan, you should make the work stages clear, as well as the requirements that the project has to be successful. In doing so, you’ll always know what the next steps are in the project, and if you are still on schedule and within your budget. The yo-yo approach is a combination of both the above-mentioned techniques. First you compile the tasks, then you note the subprojects and assign them the present tasks, and then, lastly, compile additional to-dos.

Create Work Breakdown Structure Diagram with Edraw Max

Level two of your WBS will include subtasks, otherwise known as dependencies, of the parent task. Be F lexible – Leave space in your work breakdown structure diagram for further changes if necessary. You don’t need to create completely symmetrical work breakdown structure diagram since some tasks may have more information than others. The 100% Rule – You work breakdown structure diagram should not include any extraneous or unrelated tasks.

definition of work breakdown structure

With Asana, you can easily switch between lists, timelines, boards, and calendars without missing a beat. Here is an example work breakdown structure from the above details to get you started work breakdown structure on your own. For example, let’s look at what tasks might be needed to launch a new website design. Let’s take a look at the three highest level dependencies within a work breakdown structure.

Visual Paradigm

The WBS is used to categorize cost elements and work activities into logical groupings that have a direct or indirect relationship to each other. The work groupings are usually related to the accounting system or chart of accounts used for budgeting and tracking major elements of the decommissioning costs. •Facilitate communication between the project manager and stakeholders throughout the life of the project. The WBS can be used to communicate information regarding project scope, dependencies, and risk, as well as budget and schedule progress and performance.

Make sure that individual tasks are not duplicated across your structure. Make sure that your WBS takes into account activities such as training and testing, as well as product or service launches and implementation. Include non-IT and procedural work activities such as documentation https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ and reviews in your work structure. Create a professional-quality work breakdown structure with help from our WBS software. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about work breakdown structures, including how to use them and how to create an effective WBS.

Make your work breakdown structure work for you

The purpose of the numbering is to provide a consistent approach to identifying and managing the WBS across like systems regardless of vendor or service. For example, 1.1.2 Propulsion identifies this item as a Level 3 WBS element, since there are three numbers separated by two decimal points. A coding scheme also helps WBS elements to be recognized in any written context and allows for mapping to the WBS Dictionary. A work breakdown structure permits the summing of subordinate costs for tasks, materials, etc., into their successively higher level «parent» tasks, materials, etc. For each element of the work breakdown structure, a description of the task to be performed is generated. This technique (sometimes called a system breakdown structure) is used to define and organize the total scope of a project.

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